5 Ways Drone Technology Has Helped Make Big Budget Films

Drone technology has a major impact on the film industry. Because of drones, filmmakers now have better options in terms of production. Read on and find out how drones are helping blockbuster films in huge ways.

Using a Drone During Filmmaking May Speed Up Production

Using drones on set can dramatically reduce delays. This is because other film equipment, like large camera cranes and dollies on tracks, usually takes up a lot of time moving and setting up. More hours will be needed if helicopters are to be used for aerial shots. But if film crews used drones instead, setups won’t take as long and the production day could move faster.

For instance, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales cinematographer Paul Cameron shared that setting up drones took only a few seconds — a far cry from the long set-up time needed for more traditional cable shots and camera jibs. The shorter shooting time was a welcome change in a set with production costs amounting to $300,000 a day, and gave production teams more time for post-processing and marketing the film.

Drones Have Lower Production Costs Than Traditional Aircraft

Drones will naturally reduce production costs since they will take the place of traditional equipment like dollies, jibs, and even helicopters. To put things in perspective, Tony Carmean of Aerial MOB elaborated on the different costs of helicopter use and drone use in the New York Times.

He said that a helicopter could cost $20,000 to $40,000 for a 10-hour day shoot, while a drone together with its crew and insurance would only cost between $4,500 and $13,000 a day. Film companies can then save money and reallocate the budget to other aspects like production design, post-processing, and marketing.

Drones Allow For More Dynamic Action Sequences

Drone technology has provided versatile options for filmmakers to create intense, high-level action sequences. Consider the opening sequence in Skyfall. Drones were utilized to film James Bond in a high-speed motorcycle chase on the rooftop of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. This scene helped set the tone of the entire film, as audiences felt the adrenaline rush before even knowing the plot.

Even critics were impressed by this sequence since it earned the production team a Scientific & Engineering Award at the Oscars. Naturally, such recognition drew more audience interest towards the film.

Using a Drone Helps Filmmakers Communicate Scale

Cinematography can do a lot to bring life to a film’s narrative, and one aspect it can show is scale. While a ground camera can achieve this by capturing a subject standing in front of a large structure or a wide area, it’s not as effective as when drones are used. Because of their versatility, drones allow filmmakers to capture a more complete view of a scene.

Take the drone shot of the pool party scene in The Wolf of Wall Street. The drone filmed a bird’s eye view of the party at a beach house, thereby showing how massive and extravagant it was. These were concepts that the film also explored all throughout the narrative.

Using a Drone Reveal Expansive Landscape Views Worthy of Big Budget Films

Drone technology is often used to capture panoramic views of landscapes and cityscapes. Of course, these beautiful sceneries can help draw viewer attention and pay homage to the physical setting of a narrative. Consider the likes of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jurassic World, which featured many overhead shots of a jungle.

Both films featured similar settings, and the drone shots helped viewers become familiar with these areas. Jurassic World and Jumanji were blockbuster hits and went on to spawn several off-shoots across a slew of other mediums due to both films’ success, especially the recently released Jumanji starring Dwayne Johnson. Cheeky Bingo has a variety of film-based games including the uber-successful Jumanji slot title. Like the movie, the game heavily featured graphics from the jungle, so that players can get a better sense of the setting. Meanwhile, the Jurassic World mobile game also features an aerial view of the Isla Nublar, similar to the film. This just goes to show the extent the influence of drone footage can have, and it’s only the beginning.

Now that you know how drones are helping the film business in huge ways, you can head to Vtrep’s post on the best drones for making money to start your venture.

L. Scott Harrell

L. Scott Harrell is the Executive Editor of Vtrep.com. He is also a serial entrepreneur and top tier business development professional who speaks leadership, startups and digital media masterfully. Scott can be reached via email: editor@vtrep.com